NFL Betting: DeAndre Hopkins Can Crush His Receiving Yards Prop
Offseason trades in the NFL usually don't involve an All-Pro player who is on a below-market contract and is in the prime of his career. But here we are, and we find DeAndre Hopkins in an Arizona Cardinals jersey as a result.
While we could talk at length about how head-scratching of a move this is for the Houston Texans, that's already been done many times over. Instead, let's shift our focus to Hopkins' outlook with the Cards -- focusing on his receiving yards prop bet on FanDuel Sportsbook.
The current line is at 1,099.5 receiving yards. It's listed at -112, and it will cash only if there is a full 16-game season played for the coming campaign. This prop sticks out to me like a sore thumb, so let's dive into the numbers.
Hopkins has surpassed 1,100 yards receiving in five of seven seasons in the NFL, including five of his last six. He's missed only two regular season games during that span and has posted consistent numbers despite a rotating door at quarterback in Houston prior to the arrival of Deshaun Watson.
For his career, Hopkins is averaging 90.2 receptions and 1,228.8 yards per season and has played with 17 different quarterbacks. He has seen at least 125 targets every season after his rookie campaign in 2013, posting a catch rate above 51% in all seven of his seasons.
Hopkins has undoubtedly been an elite wide receiver in the league for the last five seasons, and he finished top 10 in the NFL four of the last five years in receptions, with two top-five finishes since 2015. He's also cracked the top five in receiving yards in three of the last five years, with four top-10 efforts, and he's logged five straight seasons of being in the top 10 in targets, surpassing 150 every year in that time.
Heading into his age-28 campaign, Hopkins is entering his prime, yet he averaged just 77.7 yards per game in 2016, his lowest total since 2016 and a per-game clip that's nearly 21 yards fewer than what he averaged in 2018 (98.3). He lost some big-play prowess in 2019, picking up just 11.2 yards per catch, a career-worst number.
Overall, Hopkins averaged 100.8 receptions on 166 targets in his last five seasons in Houston.
His last season that went under on this line of 1,099.5 receiving yards was in 2016. With Brock Osweiler starting 14 games that year, Hopkins totaled 78 receptions for 954 yards, and it's clear that Kyler Murray is no Osweiler. The only other campaign in which he went for fewer than 1,099.5 yards was his rookie year in 2013, when he totaled 802 receiving yards in his age-21 season.
The Move to the Cards
The Cardinals are shaping up to be one of the league's better offenses in 2020. In 2019, they passed a decent amount more than Houston did, which should help Hopkins hit the over here. Last year, Arizona passed the ball on 58.3% of their plays, compared to a 55.2% pass rate for the Texans.
Despite their fast pace (fourth-fastest), Arizona actually ran the eighth-fewest plays in 2019, averaging two fewer plays per game (59) than Houston (61). But Arizona should run more plays in 2020, as they'll be a better offense than they were a season ago -- better offenses pick up more first downs and run more plays. Not only will the addition of Hopkins be a lift, it's Murray's second year, and the Cardinals will have a full season of Kenyan Drake, who sparked their attack when he joined midseason.
While Watson has shown himself to be a top-tier passer, something we haven't yet seen from Murray, the gap between the two isn't massive, and we've seen what Hopkins can do with a good quarterback these last two years (31 starts from Watson in that time), averaging 1,348.5 yards per year. Even with the drop in yards per catch in 2019, Hopkins still cruised past this line with 1,165 yards.
The only real concerns here are a possible injury and Hopkins losing some volume in Arizona. The injury risk is more than baked into this line, and in regards to volume, we haven't seen a Murray and Kliff Kingsbury offense with a weapon of this caliber at receiver, so it's somewhat of a guessing game to how Hopkins will be used. But given Hopkins' incredible talent and the fact Arizona's top wideouts were Christian Kirk and a very old Larry Fitzgerald, Nuk should see plenty of looks.
Take the Over
In 2019, 20 players surpassed 1,100 yards, including Michael Gallup, Allen Robinson, and Courtland Sutton. Hopkins himself has done so in three straight years, and outside of his rookie season, Hopkins has hit the over here in every season in which Osweiler wasn't his primary quarterback.
Our JJ Zachariason projects Hopkins for 1,177.2 yards in 2019 -- along with 99.6 receptions and 9.1 touchdowns.
Injuries are always a risk with any season-long prop -- whether it be an injury to Murray or Hopkins -- and something like a Hopkins holdout could derail things, though Arizona is reportedly already going to work on a Hopkins extension.
All in all, the reward outweighs the risk at this line. Take the over.